120 Days

Posted: October 25, 2017 in humor

That’s how long I rented myself out for.

Perhaps the term “rented” isn’t quite appropriate. I recently volunteered for a detail at work. That is, I get sent to another office to help fill a need while gaining experience in a position I would otherwise not be exposed to. This particular detail is to last 120 days. I was looking forward to escape the monotony!

The first challenge I had was getting to DC from my apartment. It wasn’t so much about logistics as much as my exposure to, and unavoidable close interaction with people. I’ve grown accustomed to working from home and having the least possible interaction with people as possible. I knew I needed to leave the comfort of my cave so I was ready.

washington-dc-metro-mapp

Fortunately my apartment complex has a shuttle that drives you to the metro station and back. The stop is a short walk from my apartment and I quickly found that my feet, left knee and ankle didn’t give a shit if it was a close walk. Work shoes made it painful to get by, particularly at the metro where the escalators are often not working. Sometimes I wear my running shoes for comfort and change in the office. Either way, the first thing that struck me was that the shuttle is incredibly punctual. I mean they pick me up no later than literally one minute from the scheduled time. Sadly the same applies to the ride back – more on that later.

I now know what other people felt like around me when I smoked on a regular basis. When you enter the shuttle, it reeked almost as though the driver had been chain-smoking Newports before picking me up. It was staggering. I guess he really didn’t want to live long because once he hit the highway, the driver would haul ass to the metro. I mean, this guy would speed to the point where I became concerned about my longevity on at least two occasions. Something happened because recently the chain-smoking speed freak was replaced by an older guy who drives at granny speed. The shuttle still stinks and may need an exorcism but at least I didn’t feel like the driver was the Pied Piper driving us rats.

Pied-Piper

On the first day, the older driver began asking everyone to present their resident ID’s prior to boarding the shuttle. Based on responses alone, it became evident that most people who ride my shuttle do not, in fact, live in my complex.

None of that was all that bad, but as usual someone will come around annoy me. The first was a guy who either took or made a call during the shuttle ride. He was overly loud and animated, clearly trying to seem important. I started bringing my headphones for my commute after that since I don’t want to dick-punch anyone, particularly before coffee.

The next person that annoys me is a guy I call The Superhero. This is a younger guy the shuttle picks up 3 stops from mine. While I realize that people are wearing those stupid skinny jeans these days, this guy entire outfit is tighter than a superhero movie uniform. I don’t know how long it takes to wriggle into those clothes, but there has to be a limit. You can see the outline of his little mushroom and that’s a bit too much first thing in the morning.

I had a brief walk from the metro to the office. In that short amount of time I was able to determine that there are 2 main differences between being in Virginia and being in D.C. Mainly there’s more plaid in D.C. than in The Backyard Lumberjack magazine. Also, I guess there’s now another trend of having giant unkempt beards capable of wildlife smuggling.

nudie-jeans-ss-2011

Upon arriving to the temporary assignment I realized that most of my office was younger, attractive, and particularly intelligent. I felt as though perhaps I had managed to somehow smuggle myself in there. At no point in time did I feel younger, more attractive, or more intelligent. I hoped for changes by osmosis (still waiting on that).

Back to the punctuality of my shuttle. Nearly every single day, I arrived to the metro stop and exited just in time to see the shuttle depart. I then had to wait another 15 minutes for the next one. I get a bit impatient and can’t stay still at times so I found myself pacing. I forced myself to sit at the bus stop and looked over to my left to see when the shuttle would arrive. I realized that the seats at the bus stop are too close to each other when the guy to my left sat down and also looked to his left. He basically had his bald spot directly under my nose. I got up to pace once more.

Another time I tried to sit at the bus stop once more. A guy sat next to me and began to quickly and loudly eat a fast food sandwich. It was grotesque. When he was done, he wiped his hands on his pants, crumpled the wrapper into a loose ball and left it on the seat. I never forced myself to stop pacing again.

The things people do also fascinate me. There’s an older lady who gets on at the last stop before we get to the metro. She stands out to me because she has very short hair and always wears loud colored clothing. She also does not travel light as she pulls a medium-sized suitcase with her daily. I’ve actually seen her struggle to get it into the shuttle. One day the short-haired lady is having a friendly, animated, and loud conversation with another woman before getting on the shuttle. The second lady didn’t get on the shuttle so the short-haired woman stood inside the shuttle holding the door open while she continued her conversation. Basically, she said screw everyone in the shuttle, I’m having a conversation. Granny Driver finally asked her to take a seat (in a far nicer manner than I had wanted to).

One day the shuttle was a smaller one than normal and it was full enough that people stood. Instinctively, I offered my seat to a lady who was standing. Mind you, I’m very conscious of my knee, ankle, and foot pain. She didn’t even say thank you. Maybe that was why I would never see guys offer their seat in the metro to women. It didn’t even matter if they had kids or were pregnant. I noticed men averted their eyes and pretended to not notice.

Now, I want to be clear about something. Men do not have to offer their seats to anyone. I would do so any time because otherwise I picture my mother and grandmother being pissed at me. However, nobody has to. That being said, if someone offers you their seat have the common god damn courtesy to say thank you? Or perhaps in a plot twist, be a woman and offer your seat to a guy. I would never accept, but I’m willing to bet in this city someone just might (probably someone in plaid).

My temporary assignment is now over. As of this week I returned to the life of 12 hour days and working from home in pajamas. While there’s a level of amazing about working in your underwear, pajamas, or a robe I feel as though anytime I look at the clock, there’s always 4-5 more hours left. I have a lot of classwork to go through and also am going out with someone this weekend. That’s right. A real, live human female with poor enough eyesight and bad enough judgement to go out with me. My dating life has (of course) had some interesting episodes… but that’s a story for another time.

PS: I do miss the little store by my temporary detail. They had toddler-sized cookies.

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Comments
  1. Nadia says:

    Lol… “little mushroom”. I could almost imagine that I was there witnessing all of this.

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